Conservation Pulse December 2020

December 10, 2020

Welcome to the latest issue of Conservation Pulse, with our usual news on the work of WWF and our many partners around the world.

Before you read on, we would like to alert you to the publication by WWF of an important new report. Last year, WWF commissioned an independent panel of experts to review how we were responding to reports of human rights abuses by some government rangers in complex and remote landscapes in Central Africa, India, and Nepal. Embedding Human Rights in Nature Conservation - from Intent to Action is the resulting report.

A tough and unbiased evaluation of our efforts, the Independent Review recognized steps our teams have taken to support communities in the places it reviewed but also identified important areas of improvement. We urge you to learn more about the panel’s recommendations and how we are addressing each of them.

Australia’s largest ever nature regeneration plan launched

December 9, 2020

WWF-Australia has kickstarted an ambitious Regenerate Australia plan to double koala numbers on the country’s east coast, as well as save and grow 2 billion trees by 2030, after disastrous bushfires led to losses of billions of animals and trees.

Ambitious initiatives are already underway – including two global innovation challenges offering A$3 million to develop bold solutions that help people and nature recover, and testing the distribution of gum tree seeds by drones to regenerate bushland. Bushfire-affected and indigenous communities inputted into the development of the initiative, which aims to raise A$300 million over 5 years. The past year has seen wildfires raging from the Amazon to the Arctic – the result of persistent and drier weather caused by climate change, together with other factors ranging from accidental burning to clearing forests for agricultural land. WWF is working with partners to tackle the crisis in a number of countries, including a Bolivian fire response programme that supports 147 indigenous communities. For more about our global work to restore forests, read a feature about the progress we are making in South America’s Atlantic forest.

Growing global business commitment to restoring nature

December 8, 2020

More than 600 companies with revenues of over US$4 trillion are supporting calls by a WWF-backed business coalition for governments to reverse the loss of nature in the coming decade.

We recently featured the great news that over 75 world leaders from 5 continents have pledged to take decisive action to protect human and planetary health. But we need to keep up the pressure to ensure leaders agree on a shared plan to achieve this. We are delighted that a growing number of businesses are calling for this – and you too can make your voice heard. This month has also seen other important business news, with the WWF-backed Science Based Targets Network (SBTN) launching a programme to help companies set science-based targets to ensure their activities do not harm the planet.

Action plan to safeguard European sturgeon in the Rhine

December 7, 2020

Almost 70 years after the last sturgeon was caught in the Rhine, WWF-Netherlands and partners have launched an action plan to bring the species back to the river.

The Rhine used to be a major habitat for the critically endangered European sturgeon until overfishing, bad water quality and river barriers led to its disappearance. WWF-Netherlands CEO Kirsten Schuijt said: “We must actively help critical species such as the European sturgeon that are on the verge of extinction to find their way back to our Dutch waters." With the governments of France, Germany and Netherlands now onboard, partners will complete studies about the suitability of bringing back the sturgeon to the Rhine, preparing the way for a possible reintroduction by the end of the decade.   

Read more

Numbers of Mekong river dolphins stabilize

December 6, 2020

Latest data on numbers of the critically endangered Irrawaddy dolphin in Cambodia shows that the population has stabilized after decades of serious decline.

However, we believe that urgent action is still needed to safeguard the species, whose population of only 89 is restricted to just a 180km stretch of the Mekong River. Irrawaddy dolphins are fully protected under Cambodian law but face a variety of threats such as illegal fishing practices, overfishing and dam development. WWF and the Cambodian government are committed to working with local communities and other partners to take action, ranging from improving fish stocks to stronger enforcement of fisheries law. There has also been positive news for river dolphins in South America with the launch by WWF and partners of the continent’s first ever river dolphin database. This brings together key data – from dolphin populations to dam developments – that make for better decision-making about how to safeguard these vulnerable animals.

Helping financial institutions to tackle the climate crisis

December 5, 2020

Financial institutions, such as banks and insurance companies, have a key role to play in limiting global warming to no more than 1.5°C, beyond which catastrophic impacts for people and nature become inevitable.

We therefore welcome the new framework developed by the WWF-backed Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi). This enables financial institutions to set science-based targets that align their lending and investment activities with the UN global climate agreement. The SBTi has also released a new report, which sets out the way forward for companies to set targets that ensure net-zero emissions of greenhouse gases – the cause of global warming by no later than 2050.

Calls For Action

December 4, 2020

Around the world, WWF is seeking positive ways forward that help people and nature to thrive:

  • Helping small-scale fishers: the climate crisis is harming the majority of fish species caught by small-scale fishers – including the commercially important anchovies, sardines and tuna. A new WWF report highlights how the livelihoods of millions of people and many vulnerable communities are at risk if the small-scale fishing sector is not helped to adapt to the climate crisis.

  • Challenging plastic pollution: we’ve highlighted how “ghost gear” fishing equipment lost or left at sea is a deadly menace to marine life, with Mexico now joining the 16 governments already supporting the WWF-backed Global Ghost Gear Initiative. Meanwhile, calls for a global plastic pollution treaty continue to gain momentum: almost 2 million people have signed our petition (please join them), and a new report and accompanying business manifesto represent the first collective corporate action in support of such a treaty.

Past Conservation Pulse updates →